Sunday, August 2, 2015

On Recordsgate, MJS editor slams offenders. Now what?

[Updated, 3:20 p.m.] Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editor George Stanley called out Scott Walker, Robin Vos and other GOP elected politicians in a tough, naming-names online "Editors' note" column Saturday - - not in the bigger Sunday hard copy edition, regrettably - - about what I am calling here Recordsgate:
Now we know who tried to gut open records law — and failed was Gov. Scott Walker and staff who added language exempting "deliberative process" documents from public records. This would have allowed elected representatives — and bureaucrats — to bury records revealing lobbying, opinions, analyses, recommendations, negotiations, suggestions and other notes that precede a decision. was Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and staff who sought language that would have granted lawmakers broad new privileges to hide most legislative documents, even when sued, and to ban their staffs from discussing issues even after leaving their jobs...
When the public roared against limiting records access, Gov. Walker said it "didn't come from us."
He is still refusing to release some records revealing the history of his unpopular proposed changes to the mission of the University of Wisconsin, which he blamed on a drafting error. He is using the same language he tried and failed to insert into state law, saying he doesn't have to release records made during deliberation of the proposed changes. 
This reminds me of somewhat of The New England Patriots Deflategate: An investigation found that damage had been done behind the scenes to the integrity of the game for  self-serving, unfair advantage.

The NFL followed through with Tom Brady's four-game suspension, a hefty team fine and loss of a draft pick.

In other words, there were findings, then there were consequences, with lessons taught, we presume.

I know this is not a perfect analogy, certainly, as Recordsgate rattled institutions and procedures and citizens far wider than did a professional playoff football game played on a secretly-tiled field.

Is anything forthcoming by the newspaper, such as a withdrawal of prior endorsements, or at least a declaration that the Open Records saboteurs - - especially the nationally-ambitions Walker who "is still refusing to release some records" - - are now on something akin to 'earn it back endorsement probation?'

Update: And thanks to a commenter who encourages the paper to follow-up strongly on the GOP/Walker/Boss Vos self-serving and partisan attack on the Governmental Accountability Board, since the attack is also undermining fair and open government.

Walker is running for President, and Vos is believed to have his eye on the Wisconsin Governor's mansion should Walker vacate it.

Will the newspaper say, at least for now, that Walker and Vos have caused their bar for support to be raised, and that neither rate the paper's editorial endorsement right now, nor would get it if elections were to be held, say, two Tuesdays from today and the paper were to make endorsements?

The Des Moines Register recently editorialized that Donald Trump should drop out of the Republican presidential race. His attack on John McCain was the tipping point.

Huffington Post took a different tack, saying it would cover the Trump campaign only as entertainment, not politics.

Both actions sent messages made stronger through follow-up.

In other words, what is the newspaper's best response to a coordinated political attack using state power on Wisconsin's foundational democratic processes? 

An attack which the newspaper says Gov. Walker is continuing.

I'm realistic enough to know the Journal Sentinel will not go as far as did Iowa's biggest newspaper, or Huffington Post, but will the Journal Sentinel take its strong and justified words of today and back up them up with something to show that there are consequences when elected officials use state power for partisan and personal advantage and are caught red-handed doing so by the state's largest newspaper doing its job on behalf of its readers and the public?

If Stanley's broadside wraps up the paper's justified condemnation in this matter the words will roll off the elected officials' political backs and die in a news cycle now measured in minutes, if not seconds.


Anonymous said...

Bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha!

MJS Editor? Same folks that endorsed all of these repugs repeatedly? Even issuing an non-endorsement endorsement of Scott Walker in 2014 (you read that right -- it read exactly like an endorsement even though the paper told us they would endorse no one anymore).\

Bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Since when are the lies from a lying liar news?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of dishonest pro-Walker coverage at MJS. Why no mention of THIS!

Trump Has Big Lead In Iowa
Trump Leads Iowa with 30.9% Support. Walker in Second at 15.4%

Should be big-news here in Wisconsin. After all, Walker has spent more time their, all at Wisconsin taxpayers expense, than any other candidate. Don't expect any honest coverage from MJS.

Anonymous said...

I'm of the opinion that George Stanley has seen the under belly of Scott Walker and he knows that Robin Vos is a selfish opportunist who marches only to the ALEC drum and I'm willing to believe that his words are not "dust in the wind." I had contacted him when they broke the story of the open records fiasco just before the 4th of July holiday and asked that he keep digging to find the truth as to whom authored this attack. HE SAID HE WOULD PURSUE IT AND IT SEEMS THAT HE HAS! I HAVE CONTACTED HIM AGAIN AND ASKED THAT HE EMPLOY THE SAME DILIGENCE RELATIVE TO THE IMPENDING ATTACKS ON THE GAB. In my gut I have the feeling that he is now appalled at the efforts that Walker and the Republican legislators have made to operate in secret and to deny the public a place in Wisconsin's government.

James Rowen said...

To Anon. 3:05. I hope you are right. To me, the attack on the GAB is similar in intention as the attack on Open Records.

Anonymous said...

GAB has not done a thing to affect meaningful action and certainly has not done anything to fix a closed, proprietary, unverifiable, and non-transparent election system in Wisconsin. Look at the propaganda MJS has published today for Walker -- heck -- all of the propaganda they published this week, including the lie that AG Brad Schimel is against changes to Open Records when he directly stated the opposite!

It is disappointing to see people point to meaningless things that MJS has done (the editorial means nothing as they backed all of these folks and lied in their report from summit). There is no reason to believe that MJS has changed. But I will be sure to post notifications for each and every pro-Walker propaganda piece that gets published there this week to prove this.

Anonymous said...

James................I agree the attack on the GAB is of the same nature as the open records issue. We'll see if GEORGE Stanley has become an editor and journalist of and for the people or will ideology at the Journal Sentinel trump the interests of the people. I'm betting on George!

Sue said...

It's embarrassing to note that in Wisconsin, we don't object to what Walker and Co. are doing until it affects us directly. That's why it's ok if your well is contaminated but not if it's mine. Or why it's ok to take away homestead credits from poor people but not ok to go after my assets if I'm using public money to live in a nursing home. Or why the GAB thing is not worth getting up in arms over but don't you take away my chance at digging into public information assuming I want to.
The outrage expressed by media in Wisconsin to the open records sleazathon is because it affects them, very directly. They may not want to know EVERYTHING that Scott Walker is doing but my gosh what if they do want to find out something and can't? Or in future what if they want to go after a politician they aren't helping to prop up?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the MJS Editorial Board for the first time feels violated by Mr. Walker. We all know that feeling. It is a sense that your trust has been betrayed. You been had MJS. The Governor promised you a lot of things that he would do, or not do, and YOU carried his water. He lied to you MSJ Editorial Board. Governor Walker did not follow through and now YOU ARE A SCHMUCK. A big public schmuck in front of all of Wisconsin. Fool me once...don't get fooled again.

Anonymous said...

Yet on Sunday with Mike Gousha both both George and Mike discussed the whole story without ONCE pointing out the latest news that it was Walker's office that put the request in. I waited and waited while the term "they" need to be watched over for a future move without ever saying "they" are Scott Walker's office. Very disappointing.

Dunstan Appleton said...

Rumor had it that Stanley was a staunch republican - and it was reflected or appeared to be when he was the news room editor. Either those rumors were wrong or Stanley now realizes that his livelihood and democracy in WI is being threatened by Recordsgate. The headline " Well now we know ...." has an interesting tone to it.

Anonymous said...

Stanley realizes nothing other than all good propaganda has an element of proof. I do not know why some want to make such a big deal out of this as being a game-changer. Stanley still is a staunch republican and publishing a grandstanding editorial in the Saturday edition that virtually no one will see means nothing.

If he actually stood behind what was published on Saturday, it would have been published on Sunday or a weekday.

We are not done with Recordsgate. There will be a move to codify an exemption for "deliberative process" which currently does not exist. This will continue to be misrepresented by MJS and the rest of the pro-Walker media as being an insignificant change. This is a lie, but what else would you expect from Walker and his media allies.

The proof that what I say is true is the dishonest report of AG Schimel's summit. He did directly state that he would support a change to exempt deliberative processes (which can be defined as almost anything) and yet the media is telling you he took a bold and brave stand against any changes. More lies...

Anonymous said...

The column appeared in my hard copy of the [Journal-]Sentinel, page 2A, purchased in the City of Milwaukee. I wonder if it was deleted from copies sent to 262 so as not to offend subscribers.